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Archive for July, 2011

God is a goalie.

(Thoughts going into our final day in the field tomorrow.)

He’s always got your back, and since He’s the best goalie in the universe, He never lets you down. If you’re not on the ball, He is, but don’t forget that He’s gonna throw it right back at you.

It feels like I’ve been here for years. I suck at waking up, but that says nothing about how tired I am, which is hardly. One of our friends who we’ve been working with, Joelle, works through illness and injury, saying that he’s learned to separate physical weakness and spiritual willpower. I feel like I know what that’s like now — after six days of work in the aldeas, a fractured hand, and the deadliest stomach pains I’ve ever known… I still have the strength to work every day, and that to me is pretty miraculous.

Don’t have the battery life or the typing ability to hash out a bajillion prayer requests, but pray for our last few days here and for basically all the same things as before.

Peace.

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Honduras 2.3: Fracture.

Fractured my hand while playing soccer tonight. But I blocked the kick nonetheless bahahaha. Currently typing with one hand. Need to see an orthopedic specialist in the morning to get a cast. Pray that I’d find peace and be open to what God wants to show me.

Also, I still smell like the aldeas because I haven’t had time to shower yet. Reminds me of my kids. I feel bad that I might not see them tomorrow and that I can’t play as much with them for the rest of the trip.

Perhaps a longer post later when I find a scribe.

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Honduras 2.2: Babies!

Since my last post, I’ve been working in the aldeas, or cardboard villages, maintaining and repairing water filters and playing with kids in a Compassion International school.

Everyday, we go out and go from house to house, inspecting the water filters. A brief explanation of how they work: The filter is comprised of three layers — sand on top, then rocks, then larger rocks. The sand is quarried especially to destroy parasites, bacteria, and viruses. It also grows algae on top that serves a similar purpose! It’s pretty cool if you’re a nerd. Anyway, people put unclean water, directly from the mountains or worse, the river, and it comes out safe to drink.

The filters get dirty over the span of a week, and when that happens, the water flow becomes too slow. To fix that, we need to stir the sand with our bare hands to clean out the impurities, which involves dipping our hands in the same water that people shouldn’t be drinking or using to bathe. Needless to say, sanitary precautions are needed.

It’s been hard work, but for lunch, we go to the school, where we get a home cooked meal from the hermanas, or sisters, who volunteer their time there. After lunch on Monday, we went back out to work on the filters more, but after we came back and after lunch since then, we’ve been staying at the school to play with the kids!

Never has anything made me want babies more than these kids. They’re super precious to me! Some names are David, Daniel, Jennifer, Rocky, and, well, so many others that it’s hard to remember. Each of them that comes to the school is sponsored by someone through Compassion International. It’s hard because there’s a lot of kids in the aldeas, but only so many are sponsored. Still, these kids are lucky, and even though they’re a rambunctious lot, they’re learning both about regular school stuff and about God.

When we first entered the school on Monday, I didn’t know what to do because there we so many children. And I haven’t really been around that many kids, well, ever, so it was definitely an awkward moment for me. A lot of the others just sort of went for and played, and Kenny and Matt started giving kids rides on their shoulders! I decided that I could probably handle that, so I did — the kids flipped out and started grasping at me to gives them rides! Sweet. After that, we served them cereal, but in Honduras, they eat their cereal with hot milk. Weird (to us). The kids kept calling out, “China!” (pro. chee-nah) for more milk and cereal. China isn’t really meant to be offensive but is just how Hondurans refer to Asian girls. All of them.

Some of the other stuff we’ve been doing with the kids: They freakin’ love soccer! And I love soccer! It’s a good deal for all of us. I’m a portera, or goalie, so I’m always standing between two trees blocking a bunch of balls flying at me. One of the kids, Daniel, is extremely talented, and his kicks are the hardest to block because they curve at such a high angle. He and Rocky want to play for the Honduran national team when they grow up! When they do, I’ll be able to watch them on TV and say, “Yeah, I taught them that move. No big.” Teehee.

The kids also love to have pictures taken and take pictures! Anyone with a regular point-and-shoot has had their clothes grabbed at and their camera taken for many random photos to be had. Sunjin nearly drowned in a tsunami of children grasping at his shirt. But me with my giant DSLR — I think the kids understand that they have no idea how to work it, so they don’t even ask.

Anyway, the school that the kids go to is pretty beat up. It’s owned by the government, which also pays for the utilities, and Compassion International pays for the kids to be fed. But no one provides for anything to be repaired, and a lot of that is desperately needed. From the roof to the walls to the dirt — there’s a lot of work to do and no one and no funds to do it. But with some extra money left over from our mission and the help of Pastor Julio, his grandson Rafa, Pastor Mario, and Joelle, our leader in the aldeas project, we’re starting to put together a plan to make the necessary repairs.

Part of me feels bad knowing that I was over a thousand dollars short in fundraising, and that if I had fully fundraised, we’d have so much more money to do more here. It bothers me to think that our budget could have increased from two thousand dollars to three thousand if I had just gotten more support. But I’m not sure what I could’ve done about it, you know? I think it’s just something that, for now, I just have to accept and continue to work despite my own shortcomings. Pastor Julio told me that this project would bless three hundred people every week, on average, so I’m happy that we’re able to create something that will remain even after we leave.

Today in our general meeting, we talked about grieving. Grieving for the kids in the hospital, where some of our team is volunteering, and grieving for kids in the aldeas who might not grow old enough to be our age. The thought frightens me to death, knowing that I grew up with a 99.99% chance of making it to my next birthday every year, but these kids that I’ve grown to love so much are constantly in danger of contracting diseases or getting injured.

In Honduras, there’s a large number of kids who get hit by cars due to poor traffic safety and who contract childhood leukemia because of an unknown environmental condition. I’m not saying this because I want to portray Honduras as a bad place to be — that’s not the case at all. Amidst the poverty, there is joy. When I’m playing with the kids, I feel like I’m five years old again, and that’s the best feeling in the world, really. But I’m stating those statistics because there’s so much that I had growing up that they didn’t. There’s so much more available to me than there is to them.

It’s all stuff that we’ve heard before, but the truth is that if I come back in one, five, or ten years, some of these kids won’t be there anymore. Some will have died for whatever reason, and that messes me up. Knowing them, holding them, playing with them — How can I let them go? How can I leave in a week knowing that I won’t see some of those faces ever again? That the parents of one, maybe two, maybe more, of those kids will have to take them to the hospital one day to find out that their kid’s going to die? And when they do, they’ll have to go to the coffin shop across the street from the hospital, so conveniently located for a reason, and plan a funeral for their son or daughter. One of us said tonight, “Since when did a kid’s death become a matter for commercial convenience?”

So I’ll work. I realized after my first day in the aldeas that the labor, the physical exhaustion, and even a lifetime of work is worth it if I can just see these kids grow up strong and healthy. Just a couple of days ago, I was just a china to them, but now I am an hermana. That, at least, selfishly, is worth making an effort for. I don’t know if we’ll save a life with what we’re doing, but I know that it’ll bless lives. I don’t know that every one of these kids will survive the next ten years, but I do know that when I come back, some of them will have risen out of poverty to serve the community from which they came, like Joelle. I don’t know if I have much to offer, but I have my hands, my brain, and my camera.

Prayer Requests:
-Daniel: There’s a kid in the aldeas named Daniel, who’s had severe anemia for several years now. In addition, he once had leukemia and now has stomach distension and vascular problems. He’s eleven but looks like he’s six, and he’s clearly weak and has a host of health issues. His doctor didn’t come to see him, but one of our friends from church is a doctor and will see him tomorrow. Pray that the doctor will find out what’s wrong with him and give him the appropriate treatment. Even pray that he’d be healed, and that he’d grow up to be a strong boy.
-The hospital: Though I haven’t been there, the hospital has been a trying experience for a lot of us. It’s a place that is filled with much death and grieving, and it’s hard on the child patients, the families, and our team. Pray that they’d have faith and strength throughout the time. Pray for mercy on the dying and the deceased. Pray that they’d understand that those who have left will be in a better place. Pray for our team and how the injustices of this world are breaking our hearts — that we’d be learning from that.
-The aldeas: We’re about to go into a lot of manual labor, even more than the filters are. I think we’re also going to try and tackle the filters simultaneously by splitting up, depending on what Joelle wants. Pray for strength and for safety, and that the logistics of the reconstruction project would come together nicely (and they are so far!). Pray for protection over the people against disease, and pray that the filters would bless their households. Pray for the kids in the school, that they’d learn about God and receive an education through the opportunities provided by their sponsors.
-The team: I think tonight was an emotional night for all of us as we engaged with how we’ve been doing since we started working. All of us are realizing where we want to be on this missions trip and are becoming attached to the kids around us. Pray that we’d be open to the experiences that God is providing for us. Pray that He’d break our hearts even more than He has, and that He’d rebuild them capable of loving and serving more. In addition, some of us have been getting sick. Pray for healing and for strength and energy, and for protection against further injury. People specifically to pray for in terms of illness and injury are [pause] So I started making a list and realized it was basically everyone. Pray for everyone on the team, thanks -_-x

That’s it for now! I know I said the word pray a lot in that last section, but your prayers and needed and appreciated! If you made it to the end, good job :] I know it’s a lot of reading, but there’s always a lot to talk about. It’s 2AM now, and I fail — Until next time!

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Worry not, friends — my Spanish isn’t good enough to make an entire post in it. But! It is improving, which is the cool thing about being in foreign countries. Your comprehension of their language just sort of improves out of necessity.

So, yes, if you were wondering, I’m safe and sound in Honduras, Central America! I apologize for not posting despite having access to the internet this whole time, but I’m being responsible by sleeping if it feels a bit late for writing a blog post. Gasp! Rachelle being responsible?! This mission’s changing my life already.

Sarcasm aside, it’s been a chill first few days in Honduras. By chill, I mean incredibly fun and almost too vacation-like to believe that we’re actually here on a mission trip.

Before I begin (and this note is an afterthought), I’m about to get all anecdotal and tell stories about each day, which are inevitably long-winded. If you’re short on time, you can skip down to the end, where there’ll be a summary and prayer requests. But if you’ve got time, like to laugh, and want to hear more about what God’s doing, read the stories! I’ll mark the extraneous part with lines like this:

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As soon as the fourteen of us came together in the airport, the air felt electrified. This was it! We were going to Honduras after months of preparation and fundraising. Too bad we had to hop on an airplane — I thought I was uncomfortable in planes and didn’t necessarily dislike them, but after a five hour flight followed immediately by a one hour flight, I’m done. Yes, I have to do it again in two weeks, but I’m just going to try and not think about that.

Anyway, the plane landed, and we stepped into a world of semi-decent heat and humidity. Asians reading this — it’s not as bad as Asia here. By Asia, I mean Taiwan. Moving on, we were picked up a couple of Honduran university (And possibly high school? A few look too young for college.), who were overwhelming kind and welcoming, to say the least and make generalizations that I’m sure most people make about others. Apparently, I forgot about the Honduran greeting, which involves hugging and kissing someone on the cheek. Awk. We moved into our first homestay, which was the house of Pastor Julio. Can I just say that this guy and his wife, Angela, are awesome? I’ve stayed in hotels, other people’s houses, dark alleys (okay, not really) — but I’ve never felt more welcomed and at home-while-not-at-home than in this place.

Later, for dinner, we were introduced to our first Honduran restaurant — Power Chicken. Yes, there’s a place called Power Chicken here. Aside from the awesomeness of having a restaurant called Power Chicken, the food was ridiculous. Chicken, ribs, and FRIED RICE?! I have to say, this was the most delicious fried rice I’ve ever had that wasn’t cooked by either me or my grandmother. After we ate, Roeder and I talked about how we can’t eat that way every meal or we’ll never get buff like we intend to. Fun fact about Power Chicken: it’s run by this guy who is very adamant about raising up his employees to own their own plots of land. He owns a large piece of land that is divided into plots, which employees work and are allowed to purchase when they can. It’s basically a highly practical example of what I’ve learned in IDS, which I appreciate.

The next day, we went to what is apparently a famous beach in Honduras — Tela. We hopped in our modest-is-hottest swimsuits (which for me means board shorts and a tank top), and leaped into a freakin’ beach resort. Yes, we went to a resort. On a mission. The beach sand was clean, unlike that of California, and not quite as gritty on the feet. The water tastes a little saltier and stings a little more, I guess, but I’m not complaining. Near the shore was a floating trampoline. Need I say more? We spent a ton of time jumping and being goofballs and playing the most dangerous/violent/scary game of Duck, Duck, Goose ever. And! I learned how to do backflips! Granted, it was off the float, which was few feet above the water, but still!

For lunch, we ate at a buffet in the resort, then proceeded to play water volleyball with a soccer ball. Nonsense. I ended the day with a sexy tan and plenty of sunburn. My shoulders are really crispy and red, and they hurt like… Well, it’s hard to describe because I’ve never been burned this badly. But it hurts. Backpacks hurt, camera bags hurt, back slaps hurt… It just all hurts. Anyway, I’m just complaining now. Moving on!

In the evening, we went to a celebration for the five year anniversary of the program that we’re working with here in Honduras, Ministerio Renuevo. We were served food by the people of the church, and it was awesome! I feel like I keep saying that the food is great, but this was special. Let me break it down: I don’t like black beans. In fact, I despise black beans. If I forget to change my order at Rubio’s to pinto beans instead of black, I get antsy. Anyway, they had these refried black beans (I guess the refried part helps), and they were delicious to the max. Put together with chicken, pickled onions, and tortillas, they created a bomb diggidy meal that we asked for many seconds of. We were also given random balloon creations like swords and hats! Many pictures were taken, which you’ll see eventually.

The most important point of the evening was seeing how much the Hondurans love to serve. People constantly came around asking if we needed anything, and when we asked for seconds, they brought thirds and fourths and much more. They also do their best to talk to us even though there’s a language barriers. While a lot of Hondurans speak English, more than I thought there would be, many don’t understand anything besides the basics. Still, they speak to us and gesture and explain to get their point across, and for the most part, I understand what they mean.

That reminds me, BABIES. (This paragraph’s for you, Amanda!) The babies here are beautiful, and there’s an abundance of them. I’m not trying to say anything demographically, but everywhere we’ve been, there are babies. Roeder’s been creeping on all of them, but that’s okay because I just live vicariously through her gift with little ones.

Today, Sunday, we went to church for the first time. It’s one of two Sundays that we’ll be spending here, so I tried to soak up as much as I could. The talk was about as amazing as my favorite services that I’ve been to state-side. It was about the clay/potter analogy, and how God forms us and breaks us and remolds us, removing impurities to create who he wants us to be. Something that stuck out to me was a passage in Isaiah, where he asks why a vessel questions what the potter is making him into. I’ve sort of been doing that lately — questioning why God’s made me the way that I am and even what He plans to make me in the future. The talk helped me to realize how much I want to understand the person that God created me as and to trust the person he’s making me to be.

More about the Honduran church… these people are totally into worship and prayer! Which is basically what I’m into. They’re so moved by both — in worship they move and lift their hands and sing like they’re in an isolated shower, and in prayer, they’re intense and insightful. We also did a worship set in Spanish, and despite botching a few words here and their, the people were so into the songs that they carried it all through. It was great to see them moved by something that we presented, which is in serious contrast to when we presented for a church back in San Diego during our retreat.

For lunch we had Baleadas Express for the first time. Baleadas are notorious amongst the returners because of the sheer volume of it that they had last year, which was during most days and sometimes even twice a day. A baleada is basically a thick tortilla with beans, meat, cheese, and mantequilla in it. Mantequilla is what I like to call (Wait for it…) the “white trifecta.” It’s apparently a mix of butter, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Don’t kid yourself in trying to resist the racial stereotyping (Rebecca). I thought it was quite good despite all of the overhyped disgust with it, and I think I can manage eating it for two weeks. Except maybe without the mantequilla, because as the white trifecta, it’s kind of just three varieties of heart disease melded into one. Pruett and JLai nearly vomited from the memories of the scents, but I hope I don’t end up in the same hatred for baleadas as they have. I’m excited to eat more! Great, now I’m hungry…

After lunch, we went to go get ice cream in a bougie mall. As we ate, we watched kids play on a sort of… bungee jumping trampoline trapeze thingy? It’s basically a harness attached to bungee cords on either side with a trampoline under it. Again, kids are super precious. We then proceeded back to Pastor Julio’s and packed up our things to move to the hostal (the hostel, for those confused). It was definitely bittersweet — Julio and Angela provided breakfast both mornings we were there and gave us sweet rooms and prayed for us and served us like crazy. Thankfully, we get to go back for a coconut party! (No, I have no idea what that entails.)

Admittedly, though, the hostal is pretty comfortable. We each get full-sized beds, the bathrooms are nice, and there’s even a TV that we have no use for whatsoever. And internet access! As you can tell. For dinner, we had what’s basically Costco pizza. Yum!

To close out the night, we played soccer with people from the church. These fools are crazy good at soccer! Even though it’s been a few years, I decided to play goalie. Both Americans and Hondurans alike complimented my goalkeeping skills, which boosted my ego just a little bit. It was wicked fun, and I felt unstoppable at times. Even though we lost a few times, I think that our team had the most total wins! Aside from winning, I felt a connection with the Hondurans through playing soccer, which sounds a little bit strange. While we don’t have much in common to start out with, we are linked by our love for the sport, which is good enough for me. It gave us something to talk about with each other, opportunities to converse, and the camaraderie that sports bring about. Also, I kicked the ball pretty hard in Pastor Jose’s back at close range on accident and have been in repentance mode ever since. Totally going to hell for that one.

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It’s been a lax couple of days, but tomorrow, the real work begins. I’ll be going out to the aldeas, which are cardboard villages, to run maintenance on water filters. It’s going to be hot without air conditioning and difficult with a lot of manual labor, but I’m excited to prove my mettle and serve through labor. I’m usually not excited to be manly or whatever, but for once, surprisingly, I’m down to be buff and do what I can for these people.

What’s happened so far:
-A great time staying at Pastor Julio’s for a couple of days, where we were served and loved with amazing hospitality.
-Awesome food. A restaurant called Power Chicken; baleadas, which are severely despised by returners, though I quite like them, and homemade food cooked and served by the people of the church.
-Beach time at Tela. Floating trampoline, buffet, water volleyball with a soccer ball, and sunburn. Enough said.
-First church service. Amazing sermon about the clay and potter analogy that spoke to the whole team.
-Moving out of Pastor’s place into the hostal, our new, fairly bougie home.
-Soccer! I love this sport, and I love being a goalie. Many compliments were had for my mad skills.

Prayer requests:
-Energy! Yes, the typical request. Tomorrow’s going to be a physically draining day, but I really want infinity percent of me to be available to help in the aldeas. Seven others are coming with me to the aldeas, and six will be in the hospital leading vacation Bible school with the kids there. We all need good rest and plenty of energy for our first real mission day.
-Sunburn? Silly, I know, and it’s my own fault — but my sunburn’s pretty painful, so much so that it makes me want to scream putting on my backpack or camera bag. If I’m going to be doing physical labor, I want to do so without distraction and without the annoyance of being in pain. I guess in conjunction to this, you can pray for my back, which I’m nervous about injuring. Granted, though, my lungs have felt pretty awesome, and my back hasn’t put up a fight for anything. Praise the Lord!
-Health and safety. Since we’re going to the aldeas tomorrow, we’ll be subject to the health hazards of cardboard villages. Pray that we’d stay healthy, and that we won’t get bitten by a bazillion mosquitoes. Pray that I’d be a walking insect repellent, because bugs freak me out. Also pray for our safety and against injuries while working.
-Language barrier. There’s a pretty big language barrier — while a few people on the team speak Spanish fluently, they’re not always available to translate. While others or I can pick up some Spanish, it’s not always easy to communicate with some people. Pray that we’d have patience, as I can see myself already growing a little frustrated with not being able to talk to people freely. Pray that God would enable us to continue to interact and connect on a deeper level despite the barrier.
-The people and our interactions with them. It’s hard to say because tomorrow’s going to be our first day really amongst the people, but I really want to learn more about this culture and their language and I guess the structure of Honduran society. (I’m an anthropologist at heart.) Pray for the patients in the hospital, especially the kids. That they’d have a fun time amidst the gloominess of the hospital with vacation Bible school, and even that they’d be healed. Pray for the people of the aldeas, that even in their poverty, they’d find joy in life, and that God would provide for them through projects such as ours to improve their standards of living. Pray that they’d be open to our presence and to interacting with us.

I know these are fairly general/standard prayers, but I hope to get more specific as I get more familiar with what we’re doing and with individual people.

That’s it for tonight. It’s past my bedtime! More updates to come in the future :]

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Honduras 1.1: Lists.

Yes, I’m making a post one hour before we gear up to leave rather than sleeping. Plenty of that will happen on the plane ride, which is much needed because of my bad reputation with airplanes. It’s not that I vomit — it’s just that I want to vomit, and being in such close, cramped quarters drives me nuts. Thankfully, I’ve been on longer plane rides.

Speaking of being thankful, I’ve a list of things to be thankful for in thinking about this trip:
-I’m thankful for friends who are willing to contribute to the mission, though they may or may not understand the premise behind it all.
-I’m thankful for a leader who understands and has grace on me for ways that I fall short.
-I’m thankful for JPham, who’s coming out all the way from San Gabriel just to drive us to the airport.
-I’m thankful for a night of fun and watching the last Harry Potter movie right before we leave, and how that’s kept me from freaking out.
-I’m thankful for Dookie’s voicemail, which makes me smile.
-I’m thankful for an awesome team, this motley crew that’s become a community for me — I’m confident in our ability to face the challenges ahead.

What I’m excited about (Things are about to get a lot more short-winded… everything’s funny after 2AM.):
-Working with kids.
-Working with my hands.
-Serving people.
-Being somewhere else besides LA.
-Beaches.
-Soccer.

What I’m afraid of:
-Shutting down.
-Becoming driven by routine or being empty-minded.
-Not understanding what God has for me.
-Being culturally insensitive.
-Exhaustion.
-Health risks/getting sick or injured.

What I want to learn:
-Patience.
-Letting myself be served/taken care off.
-More that I don’t know yet. Hah.

Prayer requests (back to long-winded):
-That I wouldn’t get sick — my bronchitis hasn’t really come back since early spring quarter, which is a good sign, but my body gets finicky when I’m in a different climate. I’m also worried about my back, and how manual labor or repetitive movement may affect it. Pray for the health and safety of our entire team, and that we’d avoid as many mosquitoes as possible.
-For our interactions with the people — as we engage in cross-cultural relations, pray that we’d learn to love and serve one another. Pray that we’d extend grace to each other as cultural differences are revealed, and that we bless one another through our words and actions. Also pray for the people themselves, that they’d be protected by the water filters we’ll be installing, and for the health of the kids in the hospital.
-For logistics, because they’re always crazy.
-For energy and open-mindedness and all that good stuff — yes, my brain is getting less capable of forming words.

Again, thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks to everyone who’s praying and supporting us. According to what was said, I’ll have internet access at some points while in Honduras, so I’ll be posting here with updates!

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It’s less than I week now until I’ll be in Honduras for a two week mission trip with thirteen other students from UCLA, and admittedly, I haven’t done a lot of thinking about it. What with my work schedule and general tiredness and whatnot, it’s been hard to wrap my mind around going to a completely foreign country so soon. While I feel like all of it should feel real to me by now, it really doesn’t. So here goes a series of blog posts, which I can claim will actually be a complete series because I’m using it as a venue to tell everyone about the trip. So here goes.

First, a basic introduction, for those of you who haven’t heard much about what I’m doing yet. On July 15th, I’ll be taking off for Honduras, a less-developed country in Central America, for two weeks. There, thirteen other students and I will be hosting medical brigades, volunteering in a hospital, installing water filters, and running a Bible school, amongst other things.

It’s a trip that will surely prove to be challenging (physically and spiritually), busy, and last but not least, hot.

One of my biggest reasons for wanting to go is how God grew my heart for less-developed countries well before I knew Him. I spent much of high school learning about them through our Model United Nations program, and those four years (however frustrating) led me to see beyond the need to win at conferences or to just throw money at our world’s problems — Rather, I saw the need for policy makers, organizations, and individuals to be practical, sensitive to different cultures, and above all else, real to the people that they wanted to help. Instead of being a face behind a shroud of finances and diplomats, I wanted to be a part of the action and work with my own hands to create something for these people.

In addition, I wanted to rise above and beyond my comfort zone in standard of living. For the first half of my life, my family was quite wealthy and lived in the lap of luxury — I was a spoiled child who knew very little besides getting what she wanted. To save you a long-winded story, a bunch of stuff happened, and my family lost a lot of money and ended up in the lower middle class of our city, struggling to pay the bills. Needless to say, I have a fairly distorted view of wealth. Though I sometimes feel that my family’s situation was unfortunate and difficult, I know that there are still others in the world struggling just to put food on the table. While I don’t know what our living situation will look like in Honduras, I’m looking forward to seeing firsthand how people without all of the luxuries that I have live and making that real to me.

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting to know the people on our team, who I guess you can say I was acquainted with but didn’t really know. We’re a motley crew, to say the least. With just a couple of returners from last year’s trip and the rest basically people scattered across the Intervarsity community, I think a lot of people had that sense of not really knowing each other when we sat down for our first meeting. Throughout the weeks, we each gave testimonies about God’s work in our lives, and through that, we grew to know and love each other more.

Oh, right, names (for those of you don’t know)… Our team has 13 other people besides myself, who are Leah, Kenny, Sam, JLai, Stephanie, Roeder, Pruett, Emily, Mabel, Matt, Cody, Sunjin, and Durden. (Is it bad that I didn’t know there were 14 of us total until now?) Cue fun pictures of us:

Honduras people at Sisters Appreciation Night! Left to right -- First Row: Matt, JLai, me, and Sunjin; Second Row: Leah, Emily, and Sam.

Stephanie and me!

Sunjin, Emily, and... Yeah, that's me. We're eating food at Leah's house! :D

Ten of us at Summer Con! Left to right (excluding me) -- First Row: Sam, Pruett, Mabel, Leah, Matt, and Cody. Second Row: Emily, Roeder, JLai.

Yes, we love taking pictures together. Mostly because between JLai and myself, there’s always a camera around. No, seriously. I’m basically in love with our team. We’re kind of ridiculous, super hilarious, and I’m uber excited to be able to work together with them. It’s been a while since we’ve all been together, since we haven’t been able to meeting since finals week of spring quarter, and I miss seeing their faces around. Granted, I see some of them — okay, I basically just see Kenny around, so I miss these fools a lot.

Those are your introductions! Less than six days until we take off for Central America, and this first post is getting me excited :] More to come!

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Absence.

It’s hard to rise above everyday just being damage control for yesterday.

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